Lauren Chandler’s foreword to Gloria Furman’s excellent new book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home (which is on sale this week for 53% off a single copy, or 67% off three or more):
When you’re drowning, the last thing you need is a tutorial on five easy steps to swim like a fish. What you need, what you’re utterly desperate for, is something that will keep you afloat. Something that you can grab onto and not let go. Something that doesn’t need you to sustain it, but rather something that can bear the full weight of your desperation.
Overwhelming waves and deep waters can come in every shape and depth imaginable: a newborn baby, the loss of a job, a chronic illness, a move, a change in a friendship, terminal cancer, a wrestle with your faith, the death of a loved one, a new chapter of parenting, a season of singleness beyond what you’d imagined, more responsibility heaped on a plate already a mile high and even the bleak prospect of what seems to be decades of the mundane—endless loads of laundry, dirty dishes, dust-bunnied floors, and leaky faucet noses. All the places in which you feel in over your head.
Our human tendency is to ask, what steps do I need to take either to make this work or to make this go away? The proof is in the pages—web pages on how to make one’s self marketable (to a lifeless job market or to the dating people market). Books of pages line shelves in the local bookstore on what to eat to beat cancer, how to grieve a loss, how to make good kids, how to grow your own garden, raise your own chickens, sew your own clothes, feather your nest with flea market finds refurbished (by you, thanks to Pinterest), homeschool your kids, create a blog about it, and still have dinner steaming on the table when your husband gets home.
We do well to seek advice. This is wisdom. But there’s something to being at your wits’ end that begs for more than instruction. Psalm 107 illustrates a season in the storm. Men in ships doing business on great waters are literally struck by a tempest. Scripture says, “They reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end” (v. 27). Their response to being completely helpless was to cry out to the Lord. No how-tos, no cute preservers, but just an honest and urgent plea to be delivered from a situation that was more than they could navigate. What did the Lord do on their behalf? He showed them his steadfast love. He calmed the waters, hushed the sea, and brought them to their desired haven.
This is sustaining grace, this is the desired haven: to know his steadfast love that saves and keeps us. Glimpses of Grace is not a how-to. It is a true friend’s invitation to see and know the Lord’s steadfast love displayed in every wave, big and small. Gloria offers encouragement rooted in her personal experience and wisdom from saints who have weathered the storms decades and even centuries before us. May you catch glimpses of his steadfast love and find an anchor for your soul.